Monday, May 23, 2016

Tonight, I traded a nice woman named Missy the corkscrew for a very nice pair of framed prints from the civil war era. We met at a local pizza place to make the swap.  We talked for a few minutes and from what i understand, Missy is a collector of civil war items.  This piece was not particularly to her taste but had been given it as a gift.  She indicated that the corkscrew would be of greater value to her and will find it very handy while out camping with friends as they are often at a loss on how to open their bottles :).

Once i got home, I did a little bit of preliminary research into these prints.  I read over the letter and discovered that it was from 1863 and concerns two brothers, Thomas and Jacob Hinshaw. I am shocked at the amount of information I have been able to find online concerning these brothers as well as the author of the letter, Asenath Hill Reece.

Apparently, the name Hinshaw/Henshaw is one that goes back centuries.  There is actually a Hinshaw Family Association that exists that has collected extensive histories of family members on their website.  Here is an excerpt from the biography of Thomas Hinshaw on the HFA website:

"During the Civil War, Thomas and his brother Jacob and their brothers-in-law Cyrus and Nathan Barker, had all decided that the right thing for them to do, given the war going on around them, was to simply stay at home, quietly carrying on their everyday work until forcibly conscripted into the confederate army.  That day was not long in coming, as confederate soldiers came and tied them to gun carts and took them to the "militia camp" near Buffalo Ford [North Carolina]. The confederate enlistment rolls show Thomas, age 31, and brother Jacob, age 28, were "enlisted" (forcibly) on Nov 3 1862 as Privates in Company G 52nd North Carolina Infantry."

Both men were Quakers and had a pacifistic nature.  Both men were present at the Battle of Gettysburg.  I am not sure what exactly happened after the battle, but both men found themselves working for other Quakers in the PA area and were soon arrested by US Marshals and taken as prisoners to Fort Delaware for desertion.

Again, according to the HFA website: "concerned Quakers of Wilmington, Delaware, and Philadelphia learned of their presence, and asked President Lincoln to set them free.  This he ordered done immediately.  Upon being released they were assisted by Baltimore and Philadelphia Quakers to make their way to relatives in Indiana."

This seems to be in line with this letter.  Asenath H. Reece, the author of the letter, appears to have been a Quaker living in the West Chester, PA area.  The letter seems to be addressed to the wives of Jacob & Thomas in Indiana.  Also referenced in the letter are the "Barkers," presumably Cyrus & Nathan.

There is a lot more information than this available online.  I find this all very interesting.  I have no idea where this print came from exactly or if the story of these brother is well known.  I also do not know if the photo included with the letter is even one of the Hinshaws/Barkers.  I have reached out to representatives of the Hinshaw family via their HFA website and eagerly will wait to hear back.  If this is an item that is of interest to them, I would like to see it get back into their hands.

References:
http://www.rawbw.com/~hinshaw/cgi-bin/id?326
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=33356510




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